Barely 17 days into the new year and 16 months to the May 29th 2023 transition to a new government, Nigerians, it seems, have generally been abandoned by politicians, who are now more engrossed in how they can win the 2023 general elections.
This should not be. Good governance, not politics, should be the primary purpose of government.
Aside few states, many governors have literally abandoned governance for rendezvous at the nation’s seat of power.
They are more often than not more regular in Abuja, than their states seeking to be ‘politically correct.’
Even before the 2023 political hustle, they have been governing their states from Abuja. Now, it is worse. Horsetrading, negotiations and jostling have totally taken over.
Yet, critical issues of governance: unemployment, economic disequilibrium, hunger, poverty and insecurity ravage the land like malignant tumour.
The jostle for relevance and power cuts across both major parties. But it appears more in the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, where pilgrimage to the presidential seat of power to seek endorsement or blessing from the present occupant seems to be an obsessive preoccupation.
Unfortunately, this constitutes a needless distraction for a nation that hasn’t found a way out of national challenges of terrorism, banditry, kidnappings, violent cultism, yahoo yahoo menace, poverty, among others.
In the last six years of the current administration in power, the country’s unemployment rate has more than quadrupled as the economy went through two recessions. With about 98 million Nigerians, representing about 47.3 percent of the estimated 206 million population said to be living in poverty, President Muhammadu Buhari, in a recent television interview said he has given his best to Nigerians and insisted he expected citizens to acknowledge his efforts after he leaves office.
Critics of Buhari are however not impressed. They argue that the President may have discountenanced the worsening insecurity which led to closure of many schools in the north of the country, farmers unable to go to their farms, thousands killed by terrorists and thousands more in Internally Displaced Persons camps.
Indeed, the government has failed to deliver on its promises to Nigerians while campaigning to unseat Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party.
When Buhari took over in 2015, Nigeria’s debt stock was N12 trillion, now it’s about N32 trillion. Inflation rate was 9 per cent; it is now 32.2 per cent; exchange rate stood at N197 to the dollar but its now over N450 to a dollar. The economy under this administration has clearly taken a plunge. It is now at its lowest ebb.
Insecurity has unsettled every region. Recently, the pro-north group, Arewa Consultative Forum speaking through its National Publicity Secretary, Emmanuel Yawe, condemned the administration for its muted helplessness in the face of mass murder in the country. Yawe bemoaned the killings and declared that the sustained slaughtering of Nigerians in Zamfara, Niger and bandits attacks in Ondo, Enugu, Benue and Plateau, and other parts of the country are evidence the leadership was not in tune with the reality on ground.
Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum openly declared recently in Maiduguri that terrorists are effectively in control of two local government areas in his state. He said the terrorists have assembled 300 motorbikes to attack more communities.
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As Governor Zulum spoke in Borno, 18 people were murdered in Plateau State also by terrorists. The new normal under Buhari’s watch is the daily wailing and mourning of the dead.
Faced with grim options, apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation Ohanaeze Ndigbo appealed to President Buhari to listen and support restructuring of Nigeria to a true Federalism and save the country from bloodletting. Ohanaeze spokesman Chief Alex Ogbonnia, was quoted as saying that the killings going on in the country showed that federal police could not secure Nigeria.
Amid all these challenges, we strongly caution that governance should not be abandoned in the states and federal level, all in the pursuit of power in 2023.
If Nigerians are wiped out by terrorists, bandits and rampaging poverty before 2023, what then will be the capture of power by those who have abandoned governance for power chase?
Pursue power, but don’t abandon governance. That is the sensible, minimal option.